Close
Close

David Katz

David Katz is a senior lecturer in Early Modern History at Tel Aviv University. His Philo-Semitism and the Readmission of the Jews to England was reviewed in this paper by Blair Worden

Jewish Liberation

David Katz, 6 October 1983

One of the greatest ideological achievements of Nazism was the successful promotion of the image of the Jew who was simultaneously a heartless capitalist and a revolutionary communist. Certainly a people which produced both Rothschild and Trotsky, as well as many lesser men in their image, might find themselves objects of virulent hatred from both left and right. Jewish economic achievements and championship of social change are undoubtedly a source of pride in the Jewish community, but when under attack these features of Jewish life are often stowed below as so much embarrassing luggage which ought not to be seen outside the family circle, and replaced with a roll-call of Jewish heroes in the arts and sciences. The undeniable fact that a people of whom there are no more than 15 million throughout the world should have had an influence in nearly all fields of human endeavour quite out of proportion with this demographic strength has been a constant source of worry for many Jewish communities in Europe, but perhaps nowhere more so than in England. The influence exerted by Anglo-Jewry in business and at the polls has been a particularly sensitive issue. Indeed, Geoffrey Alderman notes the opposition and personal abuse which he suffered during the research and writing of his book on the Jewish vote in Britain from the leaders of Anglo-Jewry, who thought it best to ‘tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon’.

The day the golem went berserk

David Katz, 10 January 1983

A hoary Jewish joke tells of the Jew who is asked to write an essay on the elephant, and returns with a paper entitled ‘The Elephant and the Jewish Question’. The Jewish tendency to look at all experience through the highly selective prism of its effect on the Jewish predicament may sometimes be useful in certain political and social spheres, but in historical scholarship it can only lead to grotesque absurdities. Exclusive emphasis on the role of the Jews in, say, the Reformation puts one in mind of those photographs of great events with a circle around one of the minuscule heads. At the same time one has to remember that events which seem of crushing importance in Jewish history may make little impact on the larger historical stage. The assassination of the Zionist leader Haim Arlozoroff on a Tel Aviv beach in 1933 was by any European standards a peripheral event, and his murder had far fewer long-term effects even for Jews than, for example, the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand or of Henry IV of France. Jewish historians must always remind themselves that they are specialised workers in the larger historical field which is concerned with what is sometimes referred to as the ‘host community’.

Three Cheers for Apocalypse

Malcolm Bull, 9 December 1999

It was in 1982 that the artist then still known as Prince first invited us to ‘party like it’s 1999’, and in those days everyone quickly grasped what he meant. The Cold War made...

Read More

Hebrew without tears

Blair Worden, 20 May 1982

On 4 December 1655, Oliver Cromwell opened a conference summoned ‘to consider of proposals in behalf of the JEWS, by Menasseh ben Israel, an agent come to London in behalf of many of them,...

Read More

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Read More

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences